Andrew Blackwell | Project Manager
Time, Attendance, and Fire Safety
By Andrew Blackwell
When it comes to running your business, there are few things more important than staying on a strict schedule. This is especially true when you’re only just starting to piece the business together. It can be tempting to rush through the process of planning your building, because you want to move on to the next stage of the project – the thick of it, some would say.
Today, we’re going to help you take a moment to stop, slow down, and think things through.
Passive fire protection is an important part of your project. You need to be aware of the standards for fire safety at all points during the construction process, to ensure that there are no blind spots, no missed flaws, and no blatant errors in the plan.
Three main things to keep in mind are –
- Fire Safety
The last one is an obvious given… but it might be hard to see how it connects with the first two points. Let’s take a few minutes and find out.
Being able to safely evacuate in the event of a fire is important. While you’re planning your project, you need to be able to determine how many exits are needed, how wide they have to be, and what the anticipated number of people in the building will end up being. As such, the attendance – or occupant load, as it’s often called – needs to be estimated.
The design of a building’s egress system is one of the most important things to plan out before construction begins. This is how you ensure that everybody can safely evacuate. There are many sheets available to help you figure out the occupant load that your building will allow.
The occupant load is the total number of people that might be in a building or room at any one time. It’s paired with the egress capacity, which is based off of the numbers of doors, stairs, walkways, and corridors.
You should always keep in mind what times the building in question will be opened, what the work schedules are going to be, how flexible this will be, and how it will affect the attendance of a building. This needs to be kept in mind while planning the occupancy load, to properly ensure that the correct fire safety measures are being held up at all times.
For example, will it be more common for two sections of the building to be in use at once during the day versus at night? How will this affect the occupancy load? More importantly, how will this affect the hallways and corridors being used during an evacuation?
If people from two sections of the building will converge onto a single exit in the case of an emergency, that affects the egress capacity, which will in turn affect how wide that doorway needs to be, what door will be installed, and whether you will need to consider placing an individual exit for each ‘section’ that will be evacuating.
As stated above, both attendance levels and time – especially in regards to time frames, time it takes to reach an exit, and time of peak occupancy – all affect the over all fire safety levels of a building. They are things that need to be kept in mind during the original design stage, to ensure that the project, once completed, will actually be safe for the employees and general public to use.
This gives those who will eventually be working in the building a strict set of guidelines to follow to help make sure that the building stays as secure as possible. While you can’t control everything that happens within the building, you can do your best to optimize every part of it, and to – most importantly – be aware of what the risks are, what the pros and cons are, and what the maximum occupancy load is.
By staying on top of the facts, you’ll be able to stay on top of the problems… with any luck, before they actually turn up and cause an issue. Don’t wait for an accident. Be prepared from the start.
If you have any questions about the topics and terms covered here today, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you’re interested in our leading fire prevention software, make sure to contact us today. We’ll do our best to return your queries in a timely manner, and provide you with the answers that you’re looking for.
Favourite clothing brand: Tommy Hilfiger
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